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* First presented at the Altshuller Institute Conference "TRIZCON99" March 7-8, 1999

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Applying Operators (knowledge base) for generating suggestions:

Each problem statement has been considered according to the following criteria;

Approximately 50 problem statements were selected for further consideration in the environment of the Brainstorming Process (Ideation, 1998). The following ideas were obtained as a result of this process:

Score quality progress. When score is visible, the top management will demand improvement and link the demand to salary.

Quality score can make the quality performance more objective than subjective.

Raise the salary in Quality Office.

Raise the prestige of Quality Office.

Make Quality certification a requirement for promotion.

Make the value and cost of Quality more visible up-front.

Priority - make Quality more of a priority than short-term cost.

Use different kind of resources.

Use an external "critic" to explain to management how bad current situation currently is. This will generate more resources.

Add "fudge" or "safety" multiplier to quality projects.

Allocate engineers by disposition/job - use "fire-fighters" only at end of programs; use people with "prevention" mentality up-front on programs.

Use "certified" engineers or former quality office engineers up-front in new programs

- more than 20% of population in any new model program.

Split team into parts - induce friendly competition between areas to use quality and reliability methods.

Induce friendly "competition" between other vehicle teams.

Use quality tools to reduce cost and improve quality at the same time

Increase rotation from Quality Office to Product Development - but keep appropriate balance of assisting organization with knowledge and keeping Quality group effective.

Make special training/knowledge/software available to quality office that is useful for managers. Make this a Quality Office perk that makes the office more respectable.

Combine "lack of resources" with "lack of use of Quality Tools" - you must use the Quality tools to match your resources with the job.

Teach engineers - enable them to use the quality methods as the way to do a good design.

Use first on external suppliers - then migrate into company (increases reputation and confidence before applying inside company).

Lack of resources = lack of knowledge. Quality knowledge and skills is a resource that can influence the need for other resources of cost and timing.

Special effort to design the system where the sub-system elements evaluate each other and provide feedback. Quality Department can facilitate this process - way to participate in Product Development and gain respect.

Attach some TGRs for engineers to the quality effort, so they will not mind the effort associated with quality improvement (i.e. certification will result in higher salaries in the next job, increase the value of the person with special education, software, etc.).

Connect with what management knows.

Create a very good model so that management can see the benefits of the solution idea. Use imaginary story to illustrate how it would work. Thought experiment/description.

Resonate the system - have the solution idea appear from many different initiatives, different organizations, and different companies at the right time -reinforce the idea as the right thing to do.

Use competing organization bosses to out-do each other in implementation - keep informing the other boss of competitor's progress.

Self-synchronicity, program automatically adjusts effort based upon feedback.

Create a model of management reaction - use it as a game to test presentation/response and refine presentation before it is presented.

Anticipate questions and prepare answers ahead of time.

Prepare for desired response ahead of time by reviewing with key management people in 1/1 before the meeting.

Use something that has been tested before in your or another industry.

Get other people in the system to support the solution idea and be allies. Go to service, assembly, and manufacturing ahead of time and bring their comments/support to the meeting.

Connect this program to an initiative existing in the organization that management wants to do.

Advertisement principle - use a metaphor/medium that highlights the positive benefits of the solution idea. Use a special newspaper or column in existing newspaper, Internet news, local broadcast, publish in external magazine or conference to demonstrate credibility, establish a "chat" room.

Use comments from respected individuals to create excitement about the initiative.

Concentrate, focus - reduce or delay other competitive initiatives - focus on this one now to utilize resources.

Make it easier to use the quality methods by making it difficult to defend design in reviews if you do not do it. Quality Office then becomes a coach to help the engineer pass the review. Use other departments or outside to provide the critique. Provide a "bonus" award for a successful review. Use "Tom Sawyer Fence" effect.

Send design team off-site ... perhaps a supplier company that uses quality techniques - remain in residence in the different environment until significant progress is made.

Make a portion of the environment "unstable" to make it easier for the team to change. Find area with new boss, recent problem, people rotation, change work time or shift, etc. "Hawthorne effect."

Create right amount of intermediate pressure, stress or risk to do this initiative. Introduce a special tax for quality. Reward the discovery of a mistake before initial release of design.

In presentation show how use of this methodology would have prevented problems in actual situations. Use real stories that people remember for the thought experiment.

Engineer gets complete set of "quality credits" by implementing initiatives, then can use this set to avoid a management presentation, get extra vacation day, etc.

Make "game or puzzle" of methodology and encourage engineers to learn the method by doing the game.

Put in Network, a "quality tip of the day" when start computers. Should be interesting to read ... short stories, interesting pictures, etc.

Bundle changes and introduce a group of them at one time.

"Scare" the top management to force them to take immediate actions.

Find a "young start" in the organization, convince them to make a long-term commitment.

Leverage your mission, values and guiding principles.

Show some short term successes.

Solve painful problem and show the real saving.

Introduce quality approach into cost reduction and time-to market reduction programs.

Concern: Quality approach might not be credited in the case of success.

Validation of design via failure prediction session with following test that could prove the tools and processes effectiveness.

Concern: People rotation causes loss of knowledge and accountability.

Get top management of other companies to persuade.

Get top management to talk to customers.

Invite quality guru to talk to management.

Establish a forum for frequent communication to ensure acceptance.

Visualization of the concept benefits and intermediate results.

Accountable metrics, process measures, etc.

Good process measures for engineers to monitor the results.

Make management a feature speaker at a quality conference.

Special event at a professional society for top management to discuss quality issues.

Apply for prestigious quality awards:

  • Apply for the Malcolm Baldrige Quality award.
  • Apply for Deming prize

Address shareholders.

Use an audit process to foster sharing across teams.

Foster team sharing of lessons learned in corporate memory.

Add "marketing invention" to the "technical invention".

Review psychology training for engineers; how to concentrate on the problem.

Use as much as possible ready-made and approved things (already tested).

List of questions a person should answer (check sheet) to eliminate typical mistakes.

Use professional interview and psychology interview to build teams.

Build P-D-C-A loops into the process.

Make all processes without process check, then use the best professional to check at key milestones.

Special "fresh eyes" review procedure for process.

Make customers part of the design team.

Exclude elements (eliminate the need for an element):

  • Example: for Halloween have a contest for the most weird idea
  • Add a Quality Office person to participate in design teams; ask questions and share ideas between teams.
  • Cross-reference by part, by function, by problem, in the knowledge database.

Building bi- and poly-systems.

  • Utilize independent partner/platform to conduct a parallel design and compare to eliminate mistakes and improve timing.

"Towing" bisystem.

  • "Towing" system – existing methods of Quality assurance. It is recommended to introduce new elements into them. Build a picture of the future system we would like to have and develop a smooth transition path.
  • Another way is to use existing computer tools as a "towing" system.

Alternative bisystem.

Combine design and testing systems. Test engineers should be able to conduct a "thought" project testing (following specific rules developed for that purpose) and then run real tests. Testers’ experience together with the knowledge of Anticipatory Failure Determination methods could be very useful for timely discovery of possible mistakes.

Symbiotic bisystem.

Designer and manufacturing personnel could serve as elements of a symbiotic system. Similar process is used in DFMEA. The process could be enforced if all parties were encouraged to test the project from various points of view than from their positions only.

Decrease the degree of stability. Transform an object from stationary to movable.

Design stability is provided by a stable design team. Usually, one individual starts the project and leads it to the end. However, it has a side effect: stable (the same type of) mistakes (psychological inertia prevents a person that made a mistake from revealing it). A design team’s stability may be purposefully reduced via intentional change of leadership on different project stages. For example, switch two project leaders between projects. They should have similar working experience to easily transfer the knowledge about their projects. At the same time, it is much easier to identify mistakes of each other.


Revealing and analyzing similar projects in other areas

The following systems have been identified as relevant:

The following ideas developed in the areas mentioned above which could be applied:

From manufacturing:

In software development, the approach has been working since 1960s. It was started by Turing and Deikstra. Ideal software development was based on ideas of structural programming, that is, development of a complete set of structural elements and algorithms, and connecting them into an integrated structure. Further development of ideal programming was based on developing mathematical models of data structures and algorithms of their transformations. Later, the number of mistakes dramatically reduced due to implementation of Object Oriented Design, that is, building a program from a set of readily available objects and modifiable supplements. Theoretically, today it is possible to develop ideal programs however; they are not going to be optimal from the memory, speed and other computer resources utilization. Often, mistakes appear because of numerous changes to already done programs as a result of trying to fix initially wrong design. To reduce number of mistakes, various methods are utilized; some of them could be applied to design process as well, for example:

In general, a practical approach to mistakes is taken including understanding of inevitability of mistakes in the process of software development, therefore to focus on their prevention, prompt discovery and correction.

Revealing the main trends in design methods evolution

Design is a specific activity directed to creation of new products, processes, services, etc. or their essential enhancement. It involves identification of the main function(s) of the system under development and methods of their realization. Design includes two interconnected processes:

Looking back on the history of technology one can see that in the beginning of the technological era the most important thing was an idea that people were trying to realize without any intermediate steps. For example, a builder was building a house or a small bridge without drawings introducing changes to the real object.

Next, various means of a project documentation and visualization were introduced:

In general, evolution of design thinking is far behind the evolution of design tools. In fact, for a long period there was no attention to thinking process and designers have been taught just to follow more experienced colleagues. The following improvements however, have been made:

Design process improvement evolved in parallel to the evolution of other organizational elements and management theory. Number of design departments, designers’ specialization and level of hierarchy have been growing constantly. Together with some limited improvement it resulted in significant increase in project time and number of mistakes. Two reasons could be responsible for that:

Typical drawbacks of traditional designer’s approach and thinking process:



  1. Existing design thinking is far behind relative to design means.
  2. Spontaneously developed culture of design has many drawbacks and cannot satisfy requirements of today's design
  3. The next step in design evolution including cultural, technical and organizational issues has to be made as follow:


Formulating contradictions and potential ways for their resolution

The main contradiction in the evolution of design methods could be formulated as follow:

Improvement of design means (complex drawings, various CAD systems, etc.) negatively impacts creative thinking process. For example, we found out that creative output of a brainstorming group working with drawings 3-5 times lower than working with real objects. Also, it was discovered that utilization of computerized design techniques makes the situation with creativity even worse because operating computer programs is very destructive for thinking process.

This contradiction may be resolved by development of software that supports all types of activities, that is, drawing and thinking.


Contradiction related to quality:

Usually, quality and cost of products and processes are in contradiction, that is, quality enhancement leads to increase in cost, while cost reduction deteriorates quality. Cost/quality relationship strongly depends on the company technological and organizational culture and is not necessarily sharp in some industries. However, is very painful in mature industries dealing with high volume production.

This contradiction may be (at least partially) resolved by coming up with inventions capable simultaneously increase quality and reduce cost, for example come up with less parts, operations, etc.


Contradiction related to innovations

Inventions (innovations) break the vicious circle of contradiction and allow improving both quality and cost. However, it is very difficult to rely on inventions, as they cannot be controlled, planned, or ordered. A mismatch between well-planned design process and non-predictable inventions is a very serious contradiction in evolution of technology and human life in general.

This contradiction may be resolved via utilization of systematic innovation based on TRIZ that allows obtaining inventions where and when they are needed.


Contradictions in testing new systems

  1. Testing is necessary to unveil mistakes and drawbacks, however it increases cost and takes time.
  2. Possible resolution to this contradiction – mental tests (simple, quick, reliable, and inexpensive).

  3. Test has to be extensive to give all answers and not to be to avoid high cost.
  4. Possible resolution in developing new testing procedures utilizing a knowledge base.

  5. It is easy to prevent and/or fix problems in the start of a project, however, at that time people are usually are not aware of potential problems. Problems accumulate to the end of the project but now it is to expensive to handle them

Possible resolution in applying Anticipatory Failure Determination process (Ideation, 1998) at a very early stage to predict potential failures.


Psychological (people related) contradictions

  1. An individual has to think positively and be very confident in his/her decisions to make a good design. However, he/she has to be capable to be a critique mode of mind to look for mistakes, drawbacks, week sides, etc. Normally it is very uncomfortable to look for mistakes in your own design.
  2. Resolution of this contradiction is in separating idea generation and evaluation steps in time or between different individuals.

  3. An individual has to be focused on something (like the main system function) to make it good. However, many other issues have to be considered as well: reliability, quality, manufacturability, cost, compatibility, convenience, esthetics, etc.
  4. Potential resolution – iterative work with concentration on one issue at the time followed by integration. Still, it is complicated, requires systemic vision.

  5. Creativity is not in a good relationship with certainty. To unleash natural creativity, it is recommended to abandon precise terminology, use vague statements, which is helpful for drawing analogies. At the same time, it is very important to be very accurate and certain to make a good design. It is difficult and psychologically uncomfortable to combine these two mutually exclusive capabilities.
  6. Resolution of this contradiction is in separating processes in time or between different individuals.

  7. For American and European culture, an individual feels very comfortable when he/she is a "hero" (fire fighter) because of finding a solution to the already recognized and painful problem. On the contrary, it is very uncomfortable to be a bad news messenger, that is, trying to uncover potential problems (be negative).

Resolution of this conflict may be in arranging special sessions when only negative statements are appreciated.


Organizational contradictions

  1. Substantial reduction of defects will be profitable for the company as it reduces cost of design, warranty costs, increases sales, etc. However, it may be painful for various categories of people, for example:

Resolution – changing the organizational structure parts supply policy, reward system, etc.

  1. Once there is a "fire" in the company, all limitations are lifted, all resources are available to fight it. However, a small fraction of these resources could be enough to prevent the fire but usually they are not allocated for this purpose.

Potential resolution – in changing organizational culture or in "arranging fires" like special anti-defect sessions in the process.

Integrating preliminary ideas into concepts

The main target of integration process is building the concept of "Future Design".


Basic culture and principles of preparing people to adopt Future Design

The following issues should be addressed to establish the basic culture and principles of preparing people to adopt Future Design:


Organizational aspects

The following issues relate to the organizational processes that could eliminate (or dramatically reduce) number of design iterations:


The main purpose of this sub-step is to find effective design ideas and elements with less attention to potential drawbacks or possible mistakes.


Utilizing Anticipatory Failure Design (AFD) approach, unveil all drawbacks and potential problems (it is very important that result of this sub-step would not affect reputation of individuals participating in creation stage, their work should be evaluated based on how promising ideas obtained).


During this sub-step all concerns and recognized secondary problems should be addressed


Basic techniques and tools for Future Design


On a way to the Future Design

Today, we have enough elements in place allowing immediate start implementation of the Future Design, including:

Analysis of implementation of useful initiatives in various companies helps understanding of the main reasons for unsuccessful results as follows:

To prevent problems described above, the following could be done:

Modeling the situation unveiling potential positive and negative reaction of various groups.


Gaining the support of the top management

The following considerations may help achieve the top management support:


Gaining the support of the middle management and employees’ cooperation

On this level, the most important is to elevate the Quality Office prestige to a higher level as follow:


Anticipatory Failure Determination

The purpose of Anticipatory Failure Determination (AFD) is to help identify and understand the underlying causes of a system's drawbacks. Frequently, we observe negative effects within a system but do not recognize their root cause(s). At other times, until shortcomings manifest themselves in a product while in use, they are not recognized at all. By gaining an early fundamental understanding, one can then often eliminate the drawback at its cause, rather than compensating for its negative effect(s). Eliminating a problem at its root, when possible, is always most advantageous.

AFD consists of two overall stages. In the first stage the original problem statement is transformed by re-stating the question(s) regarding the failure:

Original question:

Substitute question :

1. Why did the failure occur? How can we create this failure?
2. What failures may occur in the system? How can we damage the system? or:

How can we induce the most dangerous undesirable phenomena?

The inventive power of the methodology can now be used to answer the newly formulated, "pro-active" questions.

The second stage of AFD helps tackle the problems related to preventing the anticipated drawback(s). This is also accomplished with the help of the Ideation Methodology.

AFD offers two approaches:

AFD-1: Investigation: Determination of potential causes of a system failure

AFD-2: Forecasting: Determination of potential failures associated with a system

Ideation Brainstorming

Ideation Brainstorming is a modification of traditional brainstorming based on utilization of TRIZSoft™ to support team facilitation process. It includes the following steps:


Preparation to team work session, including:


Team work session, including two stages:


Idea generation stage includes generating ideas for selected problem statements based on selected Operators. The following rules should apply:


Evaluation stage follows the idea generation stage to provide preliminary evaluation of ideas, unveiling and document secondary problems. During this stage, the following rules should apply:

When teamwork session is finished, facilitator and his/her assistant organize the results of the session, build if necessary new knowledge maps and formulate secondary problems (if any). All suggestions and problems are presented to the next teamwork session.


Unlike the traditional brainstorming session when the fantasy of the team members is quickly exhausted and therefore the productive time is not more than 1-1.5 hour, Ideation brainstorming may long 3-5 hours with 10 min. break every hour. 10-15 serious problems may be considered during this time.



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